Using a powerful lens, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station photographed the north end of the Suez Canal, along with the city centers and port facilities of Port Said and Port Fuad. Local ship traffic takes on and discharges cargo at the angular shaped docks. A long breakwater protects ships in canal from the prevailing westerly winds and waves that blow across the canal entrance. Muddy, light-brown water from the Nile delta banks up against the west side of the breakwater.
Both ports lie on the west fork of the canal. The east fork was specifically built to allow ships on long hauls—typically between Europe and Asia, via the Mediterranean Sea—to avoid congestion at the west-fork ports. In 2014, Egypt announced plans to ease congestion by digging another canal parallel to the present one; canal tolls provide much needed foreign exchange for Egypt. Current plans only include a parallel canal along half pf the 160 kilometer (100 mile) length.
Astronaut photograph ISS043-E-303045 was acquired on June 10, 2015, with a Nikon D4 digital camera using an 1150 millimeter lens, and is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observations Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit, Johnson Space Center. The image was taken by a member of the Expedition 43 crew. The image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station Program supports the laboratory as part of the ISS National Lab to help astronauts take pictures of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to make those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed at the NASA/JSC Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth. Caption by M. Justin Wilkinson, Texas State University, Jacobs Contract at NASA-JSC.